General practitioners and specialists: Mastering the medical mindshift

Data, facts and instruments on the German health system

What it’s all about

The quality of work in medical practices and the level of care they provide to patients depends critically on practice leadership. But their best practice orientation is severely limited by beliefs.

The importance of a functioning practice management

Practice management functions as a transmitter of the medical competence of physicians, the activities of medical assistants as well as the resources used into the concrete care of patients. The quality of its design determines how comprehensively the skills of the doctors and the abilities of the staff are made available to the patients in the form of individual assistance. It also determines how quickly practice teams can react to changes of any kind, implement them and benefit from them (example: digitalisation).

Smoothly functioning practice management is based on the implementation of the best practice standard, i.e. the systematic use of business methods, instruments and management behaviours that ensure that internal and external requirements for practice work are met.

The practice management insufficiency (PMI)

If the practice management is not capable of organising the practice operation in such a way that it meets the requirements of everyday work and functions smoothly in principle, this is referred to as practice management insufficiency (PMI). The reason for its occurrence is that

  • the selection of precautions taken and measures implemented is incomplete and / or incorrect, or
  • their implementation is insufficient and / or incorrect.

This creates a vacuum, because internal and external requirements for practice work are not adequately met.

The prevalence of PMI

About 2/3 of German medical practices are affected by PMI in varying degrees and manifestations. This large number results from the fact that general practitioners and specialists on average do not even use 50% of the precautions necessary for a smoothly functioning practice. One reason for this is Misdirecting Dogmata.

Misdirecting Dogmata as the cause of PMI

Each of us lives with convictions in our private and professional lives.

They provide orientation and security and accelerate decision-making, action and evaluation processes. The prerequisite, however, is that they correspond to reality. If this is not the case, they lead to errors and failures, an aspect that also has implications for the work of medical practices, as misdirecting dogmas always lead to poor qualitative and quantitative results.

Activities in the context of conducting practice management benchmarking for GPs and specialists show that the work of doctors and their teams is shaped by a variety of such misdirecting beliefs:

  • „We have always done it this way!“
  • „This principle doesn’t work for us!“
  • „We know the requirements of our patients!“
  • „Patients don’t want this kind of service!“
  • „Employee X can’t do that!“
  • „It’s the same in other practices!“
  • „We don’t need marketing!“
  • „Everything is fine with us, we have QM!“

These convictions manifest a rigid basic attitude and a general resistance to change. As a result, they directly inhibit efficiency and productivity, reinforce practice management insufficiency and also have a negative impact on practice results. However, what makes future-oriented practice work successful is agility.

While the health policy, medical, social and entrepreneurial environment in which general practitioners and specialists operate has so far been characterised by relative constancy and predictability, medical practitioners have for some time been increasingly confronted with changes that lead to instability and disorientation and which cannot be adequately countered with the previous, mostly static practice management concepts. The solution to this problem, which will increase significantly in intensity in the future, is agile practice management. The guidebook „Agiles Praxismanagement für Haus- und Fachärzte – Best Practices für einen reibungslos funktionierenden und zukunftsstabilen Praxisbetrieb“ describes the most important components of agile practice management and their concrete implementation in everyday work.The contents support practice owners in both identifying and eliminating acute problems in their management that lead to work overload, stress and demotivation, and in proactively orienting their management towards the future.

Mindshifting by comparing operations

„Everything is optimally regulated and runs very well here!“

You often hear this statement from practice owners, but it is based solely on a subjective impression. That is why GPs and specialists who carry out a Practice Management Comparison© (German) are always surprised to find that on average forty unused opportunities for improvement can be identified in this way, which help to significantly increase the efficiency, productivity and quality of work.